Cian O’Connor and Kilkenny topped the Irish standings in the Olympic showjumping individual final, although the pair will not go forward to contest the team medals at the Tokyo Games after the gelding sustained a nosebleed.
Cian said that the nine-year-old Cardento gelding has “recovered well”, but that he will not be competing as part of the team competition as “the horse’s future is more important”.
The pair left all the fences standing in both Tuesday’s qualifier and the first round of Wednesday’s individual final. A solitary time fault kept the pair out of the jump-off and they finished equal with Britain’s Scott Brash in seventh.
“I’ve decided not to put Kilkenny forward for the team competition as his well-being comes first and I’ve no doubt we will have much success together in the future,” Cian said. “I’ll be here on the ground to help my team mates win a medal.”
He added: “[It’s been a] tough night, just finished [the] individual final, and myself and Kilkenny finished seventh. Unfortunately he had a nosebleed towards the end of the competition, but luckily he has recovered well, he looks great.
“The vets have checked him over and he seems fine. We’re allowed to continue to compete, but to me his future is more important. I’m going to be on the ground, I’m going to help Bertram [Allen], Darragh [Kenny] and Shane [Sweetnam] and please god they can get a team medal.
“We’ll be back to fight another day. I’m just happy he’s in such good shape and he jumped so well in both qualifier and final. To finish seventh at the Olympic Games isn’t so bad!”
An official statement from FEI Olympic director Catrin Norinder confirmed Kilkenny had a nosebleed (epistaxis) during the Olympic individual showjumping final.
“The nine-year-old Irish-bred gelding, which completed the course with just a single time fault, was checked by veterinarians immediately after the competition and, as a precaution, the horse will go to the onsite veterinary clinic for a further examination,” said the statement.
The statement added that under FEI jumping rules, blood on the flanks or in the horse’s mouth results in elimination, and that equine epistaxis (nosebleed) is not a cause for elimination.
Irish team vet Marcus Swail added: “Kilkenny jumped outstanding again today for Cian. Unfortunately he sustained a nosebleed towards the end of his round. He recovered quickly and all vitals were normal. He was subject to further examination at the on-site veterinary clinic and the horse is now comfortable and back in his stable.”
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